Teach Your Children About Greater Yellowstone Wildlife at The Draper Museum of Natural History
The Buffalo Bill Center of The West isn’t some small museum you can stroll through in an hour. This center is home to a variety of exhaustive collections dealing with all manner of topics – I went to the Center each of the three days I was in Wyoming to check out exhibits, events, and shopping, and I still didn’t see everything. One of the many exhibits you’ll find at the Center of The West is the Draper Museum of Natural History. To view this collection, you’ll descend a gradual, gentle ramp, which winds down to mimic the natural habitat of the Greater Yellowstone area. You start at the Alpine Environment display, which shows animals and habitat above 10,000 feet; as you make your way down, you eventually find yourself in the Plains/Basin Environment, which is below 5,000 feet.
Caption: The Draper Museum
As you make your way through the museum, you will notice countless stuffed animals on display. Our tour guide made a point of letting us know that these animals were not killed for the museum, but rather salvaged from accidents and poaching. Image: bears.jpg Caption: Bears on display For example, this display shows a mama bear and her adult child. The mother was run over by a car speeding out of Yellowstone; her cub survived, but since he did not have mom around to teach him skills, he went into hibernation without eating enough. He came out of hibernation half starved to death, and ended up encroaching on human territory looking for food and had to be put down because he was posing a danger to people. Through these displays, the museum hopes to educate visitors about the local animals and habitat, and cause people to think about how their actions may positively or negatively affect the world around them.
The Draper is a kid-friendly museum that the whole family can enjoy. As you start your exploration, you can pick up an "Adventure passport" to stamp as you work your way through the museum – they want to make visitors feel like they’re exploring nature rather than strolling through a stuffy museum.
There are a number of unique floor displays in the Draper, where sheets of glass peer through to examples of animals that make their home below ground level. Kids can get down and peek at animals like a burrowing owl and snakes – it’s a very neat idea. I’ve never been to a museum where you could walk over the exhibits before!
One such display shows a beaver peeking out from under a dam.
Caption: Digging for fossils
The dummies in this display are so lifelike that our guide said she has been startled by them several times!
Caption: Greater Sage Grouse
The Draper Museum of Natural History is a great way to learn about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Bring the family for a fun and informative experience!
For More Information:
CenterOfTheWest.org Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM during the summer season Admission: $18 for adults, $10 for children aged 6-17 years with free admission for children under the age of 5. Discounts available for college students & seniors. Admission is good for two consecutive days, so you’ll have time to explore!